Foreo Issa 3: a sonic electric toothbrush

The Issa 3’s quirky design certainly makes it a standout electric toothbrush

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Competitive
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The Foreo Issa 3 is quirky, with silicone and polymer bristles and a curved design. Foreo say it’s the world’s first silicone sonic toothbrush, and up to 10,000 times more hygienic than a regular nylon brush.  

This brush uses sonic pulse technology, but also uses your usual manual brushing technique to get teeth clean. Foreo says that the Issa 3 gives your mouth an all-over clean – the back of the head cleans your cheeks and tongue while the front cleans teeth and gums. 

It looks edgy, comes in a range of colours, and claims its battery will last an entire year, but is the Issa 3 any good at getting your teeth clean?  

Foreo Issa 3 toothbrush in boxCredit: Exceptional
Recommended

Foreo Issa 3

Competitive

The Foreo Issa 3 has incredible battery life and is easy to use, but the large head made it uncomfortable at the back of the mouth

Battery

Value

Ease of use

Comfort


Who’s this for?

Anyone looking to be able to replicate manual brushing technique. Great for frequent travellers as you don’t need to remember the charging cable.

Our likes and dislikes

  • Long lasting battery
  • Replicates manual brushing
  • Easy to clean
  • Long head was uncomfortable at back of mouth

Expect to pay

RRP: £179 The Issa is around mid-range price point for most electric brushes, and the quality of it represents good value for money.

Foreo Issa 3 Review method

How we review

We tested the Issa 3 over several weeks, twice a day. All functions were tested, and we assessed how easy it was to clean the unit as well as whether it does a good job as a toothbrush.  

Control panel on Foreo Issa 3Credit: Exceptional

Foreo Issa 3 Setup

Ready right out of the box

The brush arrived in a hard plastic case that was easy to get into. Other than that, there was no other packaging, which is good as we don’t like feeling wasteful. The plastic box is recyclable.   

There’s a small instruction booklet included, but you have to scan the QR code if you want the full manual. The Issa 3 comes ready to use, though if you want to you can charge it using the enclosed USB cable.  

There are no extra heads included – Foreo say the heads last six months. Replacements can be ordered through the website. There is a small, soft travel case but we would have liked something a little more robust, as things get bashed about when jammed in a washbag, and the case isn’t solid enough for us to pack it separately either.  

It’s easy to get started with the brush – you just switch it on. To increase the intensity, there’s a plus button on the handle, and to decrease there’s a minus. That’s all there is to it.  

There isn’t an app to download. Is that a good or a bad thing? It’s really personal preference. We weren’t bothered; if anything, it was one less thing to think about, but some people like the functionality of an app and being able to keep track of their brushing data.  

Foreo Issa 3 Design

Quality touches

The Issa 3 is all silicone, which makes it very easy to grip and also to clean under a running tap. Be warned though, if you don’t clean it off properly, you are left with unsightly toothpaste stains down it (pictured below).  

The brush is a curved design and has quite a chunky handle. Although we were unsure of this at first, it makes the brush really easy to hold and direct around the mouth. The buttons to control intensity, as well as the on/off switch, are located centrally and flush against the handle. They’re easy to use whilst the brush is in your mouth, meaning you don’t get toothpaste and water everywhere.  

Toothpaste markings on Foreo Issa 3 unitCredit: Exceptional

The brush head is large, with thinner, more pointed silicone bristles around the edge and more traditional toothbrush bristles in the middle made of thermoplastic. The reverse of the brush head is ridged for cleaning the tongue and cheeks. 

The size of the head takes some getting used to. At first, we were jabbing it into the back corners of our mouth, and it hurt. It takes some angling to get the very back teeth clean because of it, and it takes time to perfect it.  

The brush has nice, quality touches to it. The head sits flush to the body of the brush, so no grime accumulates there, and the charging port is hidden behind a small flap, so no water gets in there either. The base lights up when your two minute brush time is up, and the unit vibrates every 30 seconds to prompt you to move the brush to another part of your mouth.  

Foreo Issa 3 Cleaning performance

Use like a regular toothbrush

The Issa 3 cleans teeth in a more unconventional way than other electric brushes. It works with sonic vibrations, as opposed to oscillating, meaning the brush head moves back and forth rather than round and round. Most Phillips brand brushes are sonic, whilst Oral-B tend to oscillate, for comparison.  

It’s not so much the sonic pulses that are different, but the way you use the brush. If you already have an electric toothbrush, you probably don’t apply much pressure, just move the brush from one tooth to another while the unit itself does the work.  

With the Issa 3, however, you brush your teeth in same way you’d use a manual toothbrush. That’s not necessarily a huge minus point for most, since we grew up using manual brushes, but it could cause issues if hand dexterity is a problem, because you have to manoeuvre it back and forth a lot.  

If you tried to use a lot of electric brushes like this, they’d destroy your gums, but the Issa 3’s silicone bristles ensure this doesn’t happen, even on the highest setting.  

The bristles in the middle of the brush are medium firm, so you get an excellent clean along the surface of the teeth, and a gentle but effective clean along the gumline and below.  

However, the brush head is large and that makes it tricky to get in between teeth. A few times after brushing we noticed that whilst the main surface of our teeth was dentist-clean smooth, there was still a few gritty spots in between molars at the back.  

Really, the size of the brush head is the only thing that lets the Issa 3 down. For the first week of use, we kept forgetting how much bigger it is (especially compared to an oscillating brush head). Although we worked around the issue by altering our brushing technique, it still feels like it could be more streamlined.  

The Issa 3 has grooves on the back, for cleaning cheeks and tongue. We found they worked well for the cheeks as they’re so gentle, but it was more effective to brush the tongue with the bristles, especially after lots of garlic for dinner.  

side and back of Foreo Issa 3 brush headCredit: Exceptional

Foreo Issa 3 Usability

Light and easy to hold

Foreo make a lot of silicone-based cleaning and beauty products, and they’re all really nice to hold. The Issa brush handle fits naturally in the palm, and the unit is incredibly light. That’s a definite plus, but you do still need to apply a certain amount of pressure when bushing instead of letting it do all the work.  

There isn’t a pressure sensor on this brush, but the bristles are gentle enough that you don’t really need one. You’d have to really grind the brush hard to do damage.  

As mentioned, there isn’t an app with any of the Issa brushes. That didn’t bother us, but if you’re really into either tech or oral care then this isn’t the brush for you.

We didn’t feel the brush lacking for not having that option, and in fact, it was a relief not to have another thing to remember to look at or update.  

One of the things we really liked about this brush is how quiet it is. In the past we’ve woken the entire household when we switch an electric toothbrush on, but this is just a gentle hum, even on the top setting.  

Foreo Issa 3 Battery life

It just keeps going …. and going

Foreo claim the Issa 3 will last 365 days without needing a charge. We obviously haven’t tested it that long, but it hasn’t lost any power or needed charging in the last couple of months of twice daily usage.  

The long battery life makes the Issa ideal for travelling. It’s no hassle if you don’t remember to take the USB charging cable with you. 

When it does come to charging, the cable is short, but that’s hopefully not a problem since it rarely needs charging. We’re unable to tell you how long it takes to fully charge from empty, but we topped ours up after six weeks – just to test the process – and it took less than 30 minutes. The base of the unit flashes as it charges, changing to solid colour when it’s reached capacity.  

 

Foreo Issa 3 box contentsCredit: Exceptional

Foreo Issa 3 Value

Worth the money but could offer more

Price-wise, the Issa 3 is towards the higher end of the electric toothbrush market. We felt the brush itself is very good quality, well-made with good battery life.It feels worth its £179 price tag.  

What we would have liked is an extra head thrown in, or a more durable travel case. The one included is merely a soft pouch and doesn’t protect the brush too well.  

It’s not as staggeringly expensive as the Oral-B iO series 10, and neither is it as good value as the Spotlight Oral Care Sonic. Instead, it sits in the middle: worthy of its price but there could be more to offer.  

Foreo Issa 3 Competition

Cheaper sonic alternatives

Spotlight Oral Care Sonic toothbrush laid out with its travel case and replacement heads.Credit: Exceptional
The Spotlight Oral Care Sonic is a much more affordable option, but still offers a range of features.

If you’re into all-singing, all-dancing brushes and want to invest £800, then the Oral B iO series 10 really does have it all.  

However, the best offering we could find, and a really excellent alternative (and much cheaper at £110, or less if it’s on special offer), is the Spotlight Oral Care Sonic. It comes with a nine-month supply of brush heads, a sturdy travel case, and it uses sonic technology too, just like the Issa.  

If you prefer big-name brands, the Philips Sonicare range has a variety of brushes that range in price that are also worth considering.  

Foreo Issa 3 Final verdict

A good gentle brush option

The Issa 3 is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a gentle option. The silicone bristles and overall design make it quirky and interesting, and the battery life and ease of use are strong selling points.  

There are things we would change, the size of the brush head being one, but overall, we were impressed with this brush.  

Recommended

Foreo Issa 3

Competitive

The Foreo Issa 3 has incredible battery life and is easy to use, but the large head made it uncomfortable at the back of the mouth

Battery

Can last up to 365 days without charging which makes it perfect for going away.

Value

Not cheap, and doesn’t come with a replacement head, but it’s a high quality product.

Ease of use

You just replicate your natural manual brushing with the Issa, which makes it easy to use.

Comfort

Really gentle to gums and teeth. The size of the head was our only issue.


Who’s this for?

Anyone looking to be able to replicate manual brushing technique. Great for frequent travellers as you don’t need to remember the charging cable.

Our likes and dislikes

  • Long lasting battery
  • Replicates manual brushing
  • Easy to clean
  • Long head was uncomfortable at back of mouth

Expect to pay

RRP: £179 The Issa is around mid-range price point for most electric brushes, and the quality of it represents good value for money.

Foreo Issa 3 Specs

Battery life Up to 365 days
App No
Connectivity Bluetooth
Cleaning modes 16
Heads included 1
Colours Fuchsia, black, pink, mint
In the box Issa 3, USB charging cable, travel pouch, quick start guide, manual, 2 year warranty
Becky Fuller

Written by Becky Fuller she/her

Updated:

Becky Fuller is a fully qualified Personal Trainer, specialising in strength and conditioning for over 50s. Becky’s focus is helping people to become stronger both in body and mind, and to move well without pain. Becky also has many years’ experience working as a freelance journalist, writing for a wide variety of publications such as Screen Rant, Geek Feed, and Daily Actor. She also regularly reviews theatre productions for UKTW.

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